Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Cycle pair tie knot during race

Newlyweds Gary Watson and Lisa Russell kiss after they tied the knot en-route in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.
Newlyweds Gary Watson and Lisa Russell after they tied the knot en-route in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.
Gary Watson and Lisa Russell tied the knot on the route of the Prudential RideLondon bicycle race (PA/Prudential RideLondon)

Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint, and one couple got the first 80 miles of theirs under their belt today.

Gary Watson, 44, and Lisa Russell, 41, took a breather during the 86 miles of the RideLondon-Surrey Classic so they could get married.

The couple, from Raynes Park in London, were pronounced husband and wife at Richmond Park's Pembroke Lodge.

They stopped for an hour for a service in front of their daughter Betsy, five, and family and friends before carrying on in the race.

The keen cyclists, who have ridden around Iceland and Norway together, crossed the finishing line in The Mall on bikes festooned with "just married balloons".

Mr Watson, a graphic designer, said: "It was a brilliant day.

"It was windy, rainy, wet and now it's sunny. But the weather just made it more exciting. It was just fantastic.

"But the best bit was getting married with all our friends and family there, including our five-year-old daughter Betsy whose smile didn't disappear from her face all day."

The couple had forgone the usual trappings of a wedding - suits, dress, posh car - and swapped them for figure-hugging cycling gear and bike shoes.

His new wife, who works for a travel company, added: "I loved it. I even didn't mind the rain. It was awesome. And my dad walked me down the aisle dressed in Lycra, which was a bit bizarre."

The event came about when the couple were joking with friends that they should get married while riding around London if they got a place in the event, which saw more than 20,000 pedal through 86 weather-affected miles of London and Surrey.

As well as getting married, they also raised money for the Isla Cecil Future Fund, in memory of a friend's young daughter, and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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